All About Zwift’s New Bridgestone RS9s Frame

All About Zwift’s New Bridgestone RS9s Frame

Zwift’s newest update includes a new bike frame: the RS9s from Japan-based Bridgestone.

Bridgestone, you say? Yes. They make car tires, but they also make bikes. In fact, they’ve been doing so for a long time, and have made some really nice road and mountain bikes over the years! That said, their distribution network and marketing outside of Japan is not strong. In summary: Bridgestone may just be the world’s largest maker of high-end bikes you’ve never heard of.

The Bridgestone RS9s release corresponds to Zwift’s Makuri Islands Japan-themed map release – our first Japanese frame, and our first Japanese world. This frame is Bridgestone’s top road racing rig (read more about the IRL Bridgestone RS9s here.) It’s available for only 511,200 Drops on Zwift, for level 15+ Zwifters. The frame description is surprisingly brief in the Drop Shop, though:

“A high-end bicycle that keeps performance tight.”

That description is about as generic as they come. And experienced Zwifters know that real-world performance doesn’t necessarily translate to Zwift performance, so at Zwift Insider we run frames and wheelsets through a battery of tests to figure out just how well they perform in Zwift’s virtual world.

Here’s everything you need to know about the new Bridgestone RS9s in Zwift…

The Bridgestone RS9s, IRL

Aero Performance

The Bridgestone RS9s turns in the same flat test time as several existing frames, including (and this is important for later) the Specialized Tarmac Pro and Cannondale EVO.

Rated at just two stars for aero performance, we didn’t expect this frame to blow off the doors in our flat test. It turned in a time that places it right in the middle of the aero performance percentile rankings, along with 9 other frames which turned in the same time.

The Bridgestone RS9s turned in a time of 51:33 on our test course (two laps of Tempus Fugit). By comparison, the fastest frame in game (Specialized Venge S-Works) turned in a time of 51:18. (Both of these test times were done with Zwift’s stock wheelset, the 32mm carbon).

Climb Performance

The Bridgestone RS9s is rated at 4 stars for weight, so we were excited to test and see how it stacked up against the best climbers in game.

This frame comes from Bridgestone’s “Anchor” line (it’s written on the top tube), which feels sort of like naming an aero bike “the sail”. But as writers, we can appreciate a little irony.

Here’s the big news: the Bridgestone RS9s is a super-nimble climber, turning in the same time on our Alpe tests as the best climbing frames in game (the Specialized Tarmac Pro and Cannondale EVO). That’s right… we’ve got a three-way tie in the best climbing frames category.

The Bridgestone RS9s turned in an Alpe du Zwift time of 48:58. By comparison, the standard Zwift aero frame turns in a time of 49:31. (Both of these test times were done with Zwift’s stock wheelset, the 32mm carbon).

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Star Rating Madness?

Posts like these always bring out the commenters lamenting how Zwift’s simple 4-star rating system doesn’t work. And they have a point: there are two frames in the Drop Shop rated at 4 stars for weight, but 3 for aero – and neither of these frames performs better on our Alpe climbing tests than the three leaders (Specialized Tarmac Pro, Cannondale EVO, and Bridgestone RS9s).

It’s not that the system is broken or inaccurate – it’s simply that the 4-star ratings aren’t granular enough to tell us precisely how the frames will really perform.

Conclusions

As a result of this frame’s top-notch climbing, we’ve updated the following posts to include the Bridgestone RS9s:

Unfortunately for Bridgestone, the frame is more expensive and level locked higher than the Specialized Tarmac Pro and Cannondale EVO – so there’s no compelling reason to pick it up, unless you’re a Bridgestone bike fan, or want to ride something others aren’t. Still, it’s always fun to get a new top performer in game!

Questions or Comments?

Share below!

About The Author

Eric Schlange

Eric runs Zwift Insider in his spare time when he isn't on the bike or managing various business interests. He lives in Northern California with his beautiful wife, two kids and dog. Follow on Strava

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Evan
Evan
2 months ago

A three-way tie for best frame?! To be honest though, if Specialized was dethroned from the top, they would have thrown a fit. Also, we need to move away from star ratings!!! Percentage is way more accurate and also easier to distinguish the better frame from the worst frame.

Paul Himes
Paul Himes
2 months ago
Reply to  Evan

Which is why I don’t look at the stars and always come to the ZwiftInsider Frame Ranking page before buying a new frame (or choosing one if I think my usual frame might not be the best for a particular race).

Tim
Tim
2 months ago
Reply to  Evan

I’d wager that ZwiftInsider has enough information to generate estimate weight, CdA and CRR for all bikes and wheels. Though CRR is already known since Zwift has published them.

Derek
Derek (@dpr4473)
2 months ago
Reply to  Evan

Yeah … I’m sure Zwift will get right on that. Just like the dozens of other worthwhile requests they ignore.

Ricky Dee
Ricky Dee (@rsduchemin)
2 months ago

Cut to the chase… can you change the paint colour?

Paul Himes
Paul Himes
2 months ago
Reply to  Ricky Dee

That’s the most important question. I bought the Cannondale Evo while in the pen for a TTT up Alpe de Zwift when I already had the Tarmac Pro because I could change the color of the Evo to match my team’s kit and the Tarmac Pro was only available in boring black (and 2 of my teammates were riding it – it’s useful for your avatars to be easily told apart in TTT to make sure rotations work). The fact that it was super cheap and I was at a level where there was nothing else to buy didn’t hurt.

bolanbiker
bolanbiker (@bolanbiker)
2 months ago
Reply to  Eric Schlange

Shame, since IRL they claim to have 32 colors available (including ATP pink).

Tom
Tom
2 months ago

Surely having all frames equal would make more sense for zwift so that people could pick the one they like rather than obsessing over a few seconds, or everyone essentially rising the same one as it’s best

M. d. s. Günther
M. d. s. Günther
2 months ago
Reply to  Tom

That would essentially remove the incentive behind the drop shop. Like it or not, many come to posts like these because we want to know if we can get an edge somewhere, not to see how the frame looks. And why would Zwift remove something from the game that we obsess over. It makes less sense if anything.

Viktor
Viktor (@viktor_icarus)
2 months ago

People would still buy the frames they like though. In fact, people might be more inclined to buy and use more bikes because you’re not penalised for doing so like you are right now.

M. d. s. Günther
M. d. s. Günther
2 months ago
Reply to  Viktor

Well i know for a fact that there are people who ride bikes in Zwift just because of brand or style. But i would argue that the vast majority does not care about that. I stand by my point that it would just remove an engaging factor out of the game. You can still ride the frame you enjoy in non-competitive environments right now, so the only thing you would really gain is that newer players are less penalized in races for not having a Tron or something like that.

Jimmy
Jimmy
1 month ago

Agree, the drop shop would be pointless if the frames didn’t mean anything. I wish they’d actually go a step further and start making the helmets etc do something, such as improve aero, so it gives us other things to buy and add to the mix. Who knows, maybe even go to the point of making tyres get worse with age and so make a need to buy new ones in the drop shop. Would at least give some additional reason to it, especially for the high level riders who simply end up with millions of drops and nothing to… Read more »

Taicho Cyclist
Taicho Cyclist (@cyclistsg)
2 months ago

Time to go shopping…

Sammy Knockaert
Sammy Knockaert
2 months ago

It’s becoming time that Zwift allows us to create some “favorite” bike setups, and bind them to some shortcut keys. Via this way, you could prepare some frame and wheel combo’s to be used in-game, and making swapping bikes easier. Now you have a garage, but each item frame or wheels is not linked, and changing is a hastle.

M4rk0
M4rk0
2 months ago

This would be so welcomed.

Gregg
Gregg
2 months ago

Off topic. My first proper bike I bought while in college(mid-90’s) was a Bridgestone touring bike. I wish I had kept it.

Dan Connelly
2 months ago

Great work! The top 3 climbers are each rim brake bikes. It makes sense to not try to put too fine a detail on ratings, since IRL frame weight depends so strongly on size and on paint,and different manufactures use different sizing options, so you can’t equalize for that, so this lets players exercise some style/brand choices without penalty. No bike commonly sold today is lighter than an unpainted 2013 Cannondale Evo with similar components (and my 2008 Fuji is at most 100 grams heavier). Disc brakes are always heavier than rim brakes all other things equal.

Ian M
Ian M
2 months ago

Going to wait on any “top tier” equipment for a nerf after getting hosed on the Aeroad 2021.

Tim
Tim
2 months ago
Reply to  Ian M

Hopefully you already have one of the other top climbers, so no need for this frame! And the aeroad is still a top frame, it’s just no longer a notch above all other frames.

gil_santamaria
gil_santamaria
2 months ago

Thanks Éric…Need to update “WHEEL AND FRAME PERFORMANCE SCATTER PLOTS FOR ZWIFTERS” too

Thomas Christiansen
Thomas Christiansen
1 month ago
Reply to  Eric Schlange

How about adding the ZIPP 353NSW scatter plot too?
(and in the Tron vs top performing frame/wheel plot)
Thanks

Carsten
Carsten
2 months ago

Thanks Eric again ! So fast can be a car tire as a bike frame 😉 .
It’s good to have a tie between 3 frames, so we’ll see some different brands on ADZ.

What about the test results for the new Roval Rapide wheels ? I hope they will be good allrounders.

Hansel
Hansel
1 month ago

Guess we’ll see quite a few of these with a super easy unlock for the Olympics events in June. I was just about to pick up my Tarmac Pro when that news came out. Might just rock the Bridgestone for now.

Rich
Rich
1 month ago

Not so much an incentive for me since I’ve already the Tarmac Pro, but the wife will be super stoked to save her drop points and get one of the best climbing frames a little early – for free!

Claas
Claas
1 month ago
Reply to  Rich

…and now she can even earn it by simply completing one of the Olympic Virtual Series rides 😉

Manabu
Manabu
1 month ago

Just got this bike by just pedaling for 1 hour with the Olympic podcast. Mostly limited time, but it would be free for just an “hour” of “work”.

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